Summer Beach Reads from Fire & Ice

 


"Swimming Alone" by Nina MansfieldSWIMMING ALONE

The Sea Side Strangler is on the loose in Beach Point, where fifteen-year-old Cathy Banks is spending the summer with her aunt (who happens to be mystery writer Roberta McCabe.) Although thrilled to be away from her psychotic, divorcing parents, with no cell phone or internet access, Cathy is positive that her summer is going to be wretched. Just when she begins to make friends, and even finds a crush to drool over, her new friend Lauren vanishes. When a body surfaces in Beach Point Bay, Cathy is forced to face the question: has the Sea Side Strangler struck again?

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"Surf Shop Sisters" by Laura KennedySURF SHOP SISTERS

I guess everyone wants something in life. It was easy figuring out what each of my BFFs wanted the beginning of our Junior Year at Coral Cove High. For brainy Sudsy it was to get skinny; for upwardly mobile Tamara to get more stuff, and problem child Maria to be treated like she was older than ten.

TWho knew that bigger problems lurked in the swampy bayous of Coral Cove, like redheaded Paris Breck, threatening to take me, Brooke, down like a clump of stinky seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico.

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"Cry of the Sea" by D. G. DriverCRY OF THE SEA

Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average seventeen-year-old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so “out there?”

Her feelings on the subject are changed when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she finds out that these aren’t humans at all. They’re mermaids!

Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.

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"Onion Girl" by Lori-Sue VodiONION GIRL

Syd Callens moves to Augusta, GA six weeks before the start of ninth grade and her beloved father’s funeral. She’s overwhelmed by the city of 200,000, which compared to Vidalia, is a crazy-paced cultural mecca. Syd stubbornly withdraws, refusing to cry at her daddy’s burial: “I didn’t cry when he got sick and I didn’t cry when he got sicker. I was only angry that he left me.”

She wallows in grief, resisting help from her mother or anyone on the outside, including an extension of friendship from Seth, her first crush—a boy who’s already spoken for and whose eyes look like the deep end of the pool. She also deals with the ensuing humiliation that comes when a girl realizes that everyone at school has mistaken her for a boy.

Syd feels an instant connection to Mel, a fellow oddball who clunks around Greenbrier in army boots and dresses. The attraction turns to mistrust however, when Mel divulges a secret Sydney takes for a lie. The girls are mere inches from forging a friendship but then Mel mysteriously disappears, leaving Sydney alone to wonder what happened and to face daily abuse from Greenbrier’s two meanest bullies—Ashley and Megan.

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"Into the Deep" by Missy FlemingINTO THE DEEP

No one understands the fury of the ocean like Zoey. Ten years ago, she lost her leg in a freak shark attack. The night after her sixteenth birthday, she has yet to accept her awkward prosthetic limb or the fact she will always be different. Wary of the sea, and its hidden threats, she ventures to a bonfire at the beach. She’s mesmerized by its awesome power, wondering what she ever had to fear, until a rogue wave sweeps her into the cool, salty water.

Zoey believed mermaids were creatures of legend, characters in silly children’s stories, but it’s hard to ignore the captivating tail that’s suddenly appeared, or the sense of finally being whole. She abandons her life on land in search of answers about who she really is and where she came from. What she discovers is a kingdom full of intrigue and danger, as well as a royal father she never knew existed. Settling into her role as a mermaid princess, she learns her family is under attack, both on land and in the water. Raging storms swell up, threatening coastal cities, and sea levels rise practically overnight, endangering the lives of everyone she loves. Determined to stop the strange phenomena, Zoey becomes caught up in the race to track down what, or who, is responsible for the catastrophic events.

But, Zoey possesses another secret, one born of legend and more powerful than any mer or human can imagine.

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"Trail of Secrets" by Laura WolfeTRAIL OF SECRETS

Spending three weeks of her summer at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy in northern Michigan should have been one of the happiest times of sixteen year-old Brynlei’s life. But from the moment Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode, she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched.

Then she hears the story of a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. While the other girls laugh over the story of the dead girl who haunts Foxwoode, Brynlei senses that the girl—or her ghost—may be lurking in the shadows.

Brynlei’s quest to reveal the truth interferes with her plan to keep her head down and win Foxwoode’s coveted “Top Rider” award. Someone soon discovers Brynlei’s search for answers and will go to any length to stop her. When Brynlei finally uncovers the facts surrounding the missing girl’s disappearance, she must make an impossible choice—protect a valuable secret, or save a life.

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New Books || January 30, 2016 || Surf Shop Sisters

"Double Take" by Laura KennedySurf Shop Sisters

Coral Cove #1

by Laura Kennedy

I guess everyone wants something in life. It was easy figuring out what each of my BFFs wanted the beginning of our Junior Year at Coral Cove High. For brainy Sudsy it was to get skinny; for upwardly mobile Tamara to get more stuff, and problem child Maria to be treated like she was older than ten.

Who knew that bigger problems lurked in the swampy bayous of Coral Cove, like redheaded Paris Breck, threatening to take me, Brooke Bentley, down like a clump of stinky seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico.

* NOTE: The Coral Cove series consists of standalone novels following the life of Brooke Bentley. The books can be read in any order.


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Read the first chapter below!

Chapter One

I guess everyone wants something. It was easy figuring out what each of my three BFFs wanted at the beginning of our Junior Year at Coral Cove High. For brainy Sudsy, it was to get skinny and have a boyfriend; for gorgeous Maria, to have her parents treat her like she was older than ten; for upwardly mobile Tamara, to get more stuff.

When it came to me, all I wanted was to be taken more seriously. For some reason when you’re reasonably cute, no one thinks you’re very smart. Other than geometry, my grades were okay, so why was I always getting the dumb, almost-blonde treatment?

Who’d have guessed bigger problems were lurking around the bayous of Coral Cove in the form of my soon-to-be nemesis Paris Breck? But first I have to tell you about Maria and how I always seemed to get tangled up in her problems, like a clump of stinky seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico.

It was a lazy Sunday morning and I’d just glided the Green Lady (my darling convertible) through the wrought iron gates of our Mediterranean onto the brick streets to my killer job at Surf’s Up. Top down, (the convertible’s, not mine), I was playing a rerun of my date with Tyler the night before, wondering if being forced to defend my virginity on a weekly basis was worth the hassle of having a boyfriend.

The reggae sound of The Expendables met me at the door. The Sisters, aka BFFs Sudsy, Tamara and Maria, didn’t seem to notice I was late. But instead of getting the evil eye from my old hippie boss, Dave, like you usually do from a grownup when you screw up, I got a sad, reassuring smile. The kind your parents give when you just broke your arm rollerblading.

I raced to a rack of bikinis and began to madly rearrange them, sneaking peeks at Sudsy and Tamara refolding a stack of Rip Curl T-shirts. Sudsy shot me a look from behind wire-rimmed Beatles glasses and shook her head. I was trying to figure out what she meant when Maria passed by carrying a box of sunblock. The crybaby of our group, tears from her big brown eyes threatened to spill down her cheeks like she was in a soap opera on Telemundo.

“What’s wrong with Maria?” I whispered to Sudsy.

“She’s bummed because her father told her she can’t go to Homecoming with Anthony,” Sudsy whispered back.

“So that’s a surprise?”

“No, but she just found out Anthony will be leaving for Army boot camp after Thanksgiving. Who knows what could happen to him?”

I glanced at Maria where she stood lining up amber bottles of sunblock and gave her a little wave. But instead of a smile, she just bit her Angelina Jolie look-a-like lip.

“Leave her alone,” Tamara advised. “She’s just going to have to deal with it.”

The morning flew by. In an attempt to pump swimwear sales, Dave coaxed me into a hot white Juicy Couture ruffled bikini (the killer suit I’d die for), to parade around the shop. I felt like an idiot, especially when two girls from school came in, but Dave was the boss.

Around one, Dave ordered a ham and pineapple pizza from Zeno’s Greek Pizza Parlor. We’d just finished devouring it when a well-dressed redhead and a skinny, youngish blonde sauntered in. Sporting Kate Spade, Prada, and real jewelry, they looked like they’d be good for a couple of hundred easy. The older one, who was around fifty, reminded me of an actress I’d seen on TV reruns.

“May I help you?” I asked.

A sneer crossed the redhead’s Pekinese face; the same kind of look you make when you’ve just spotted a big, fat cockroach.

“Tiffany wants to try on some suits. She’s a seven.”

“The sevens are on the rack against the wall,” I said, and with a wave herded them like a sheep dog to the back.

After a few minutes of mangling the merchandise, Tiffany held up a hot turquoise T-back. “What do you think, Mommy?”

She’s like thirty and still calls her mother Mommy? It was all I could do not to barf.

“Try it on. It’s cute.”

While Baby Cakes trotted off to the dressing room, I knocked myself out showing Mommy everything in the store. Twenty minutes later, BC reappeared with a sea foam green baby doll dress, two L-Spaces, and my to-die-for Juicy Couture bikini. She headed for the cash register, her mother trailing behind. Bingo!

“I’d kill for that suit,” I said. “It’s the hottest ever.” Mommy handed me her American Express card and I ran it through the machine. “Paris Breck, what a pretty name. Did anyone ever tell you that you’re an eponym?”

“I’m a what?” She raised one radically plucked brow.

“An eponym. When something’s named after a person it’s called an eponym. Of course, you’re named after a person and a city too.”

She looked annoyed. “Oh, really? How interesting.”

“It just happens to be one of my vocabulary words from last week.”

Dave high-fived me when they left. “Killer job, Brookesie. Have another piece of pizza.”

“No thanks. My ass is big enough as it is.”

“Your ass is perfect and you know it,” Sudsy said, whisking by with the broom. But for once I wasn’t worrying about the way I looked. I was worrying about Maria.

It wasn’t until things slowed down and the four of us took a break at the beat up picnic table out back that we were able to talk.

“Okay, Maria, what’s the scoop?” I asked.

“It’s the same old thing. My dad thinks Anthony’s too old and a sleezeball loser, so he won’t let me date him.”

Tamara wrinkled her perfectly sculptured nose. “But you do anyway, right?”

“Well, yes. But I hate sneaking around! I want to go to Homecoming and wear a pretty dress just like everyone else. It’s the least I can do before he’s shipped off to the Middle East.” A fat tear streamed down her face.

I patted her hand. As usual I felt all protective and mushy. Just like in pre-school when she’d screwed up the CD player and I took the blame. “Now, don’t worry, honey. We’ll figure out something.”

Sudsy slid a neatly typed sheet of paper to me across the table. “Well, while everyone’s ruminating, here’s your new vocabulary list.”

I looked down. “Monday. Masticate.”

“It means to chew,” Sudsy explained.

“Then why the hell not just say chew?” Tamara demanded. She was not in a good mood.

Sudsy adjusted her glasses. “Because any moron can say chew, T. That’s why.”

Tamara rolled her eyes. “Well, it sounds like something a lot more exciting than just eating.”

Sudsy and I giggled while Maria just looked bewildered.

“So why not say you’re going to the dance in a group and then just sleep over at my house?” I suggested.

The Sisters nodded.

A shadow of a smile crossed Maria’s face. “Do you think it will work?

“No problem. I’ll run it by my mother. I’m sure she’ll be okay with it.”

“See, Maria, all fixed,” I said. But as soon as the words left my lips I was left with a bad feeling in my stomach, like I’d just eaten a raw oyster in a month spelled without an R.

The next day at school I spent half of geometry class figuring out the logistics of my scheme to get Maria to Homecoming with Anthony by drawing little isosceles triangles on my paper. Hmm. If one corner was Maria, another Anthony, and the last corner Maria’s dad… My math teacher, Mr. Humphrey, claims side angle side equals side angle side, but in this case I had the feeling it equaled trouble.

It was Wednesday after school and I was sprawled out on an obnoxious green alligator raft in our heated pool, wondering how we were going to pull off Maria’s secret date. Hopefully Maria’s family would be preoccupied with making that incredible chicken with yellow rice I love, or the black bean soup I adore even more, and wouldn’t notice her sneaking out her dress. My stomach growled. God, I wished I had some chicken and yellow rice.

I hopped out of the pool and wrapped myself in a huge fluffy towel. Would my mother be cooking something on that new blue European gas stove of hers, or would she just be polishing the stainless steel?

“What’s for dinner?” I asked, dripping into the kitchen.

My mother blew a lock of blonde hair off her forehead. “Roast chicken with lemon, brown rice with pecans and mushrooms, and ratatouille.”

“You know, I really love you.”

“Yes. By the way, Sudsy called, but I didn’t want to take the phone to you in the pool.”

“Mom, you can’t get electrocuted on a cordless phone. It runs on batteries.”

“Well, it just makes me nervous.” She took off her Kiss-the-Cook apron. “How’s Sudsy coming with her romance novel?”

“Almost finished, but she won’t let anyone read it.”

“Doesn’t she need someone to edit? Maybe I could help since I am a lit major.”

“Forget it. Sudsy says it’s an absolute masterpiece already.”

There’s an old cornball song my Grandma Donnie sings. Something about life not being easy—I beg your pardon. I never promised you a rose garden. I don’t know who’s begging whose pardon, but they were sure right about life not being a bed of flowers. I mean, I was just trying to help Maria and already I was the bad guy. At least according to Tyler.

After school the next day, Tyler and I parked the Green Lady at the Cove for the purpose of my telling him our plans had changed. Having an abundance of testosterone surging through his scrawny bod, I’m sure he thought we’d driven to the Cove to make out. So once I’d turned off the engine, I gave him a juicy kiss to get him in a good mood. Kissing Tyler was really quite delicious, because, scrawny or not, he was one of the hottest guys at Coral Cove High. But when I pushed him away and blurted out that he’d have to meet me at Homecoming because I’d be going to the dance in a group date with Sudsy, Tamara, and Maria, he was not happy.

“But I thought Maria was going with that Anthony dude?”

“She is. But her father can’t stand him, so she has to pretend she’s going with us girls and then sleep over at my house.”

“You must be friggin’ kidding,” he croaked. Sometimes when Tyler gets excited his voice still goes up and down like the Scorpion ride at Busch Gardens.

“No, I’m not kidding, Tyler. This dance is like extremely crucial to Maria. I can’t let her down.”

“But it’s all right to let me down.”

“I don’t see what the big deal is. We can still be at the dance together.”

“So does that mean we won’t be hanging out after?”

I looked at him and smiled, realizing that hanging out meant making out in the back seat of my convertible.

“There’ll be plenty of other times for that. Think of it this way. Helping Anthony and Maria go to Homecoming is sort of like your patriotic duty. I mean, Anthony could get killed when he’s in the army. It’s the least you can do.”

A scowl crossed his handsome face. “You know, Brooke, I’m really sick of the way you always manipulate me.”

“With the exception of now, when have I manipulated you?”

“All the time. You constantly have some kind of scheme.”

“Tyler, that’s not true. Besides, in business they call that entrepreneurship.”

“Right.”

We drove back to school in silence; Tyler turned away from me like my cat does on the way home from the vet. I stopped at the bike rack where he got out of the Green Lady and slammed the door.

“You don’t have to take it out on my car,” I said.

He turned and glared. “I wish you worried half as much about me as you do about your damn car. Well, you won’t have to worry about it anymore.”

“So does that meaning you’re breaking up with me?”

“What do you think?” he snapped and with that unlocked his bike and pedaled off in a cloud of dust.

Interview | Julie Otzelberger | “The Cat That Went to Homecoming” + Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to present an interview that author Laura Kennedy (“Double Take”) conducted with Julie Otzelberger in regards to Julie’s February release “The Cat That Went to Homecoming.”

First, a little about the book:

The Cat That Went To Homecoming is the coming of age story of Ellen Jones, an overweight teenage girl from a single family home. She is under constant attack by her peers, bullied because of her weight and her family’s poverty. Through volunteer work with her cat, Hershey, Ellen finds her self esteem and the courage to stand up to her bullies. Along the way, she discovers what true friendship and forgiveness are and tells us how Hershey became The Cat That Went To Homecoming.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Laura: Ellen tells us she’s dreamed of a summer transformation for several summers. Why don’t you think she was ever successful?

Julie: Loneliness can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, and Ellen was lonely for many years. Ellen lives in a suburban neighborhood where most of the residents are upper-middle class families. She is bullied over the fact that her clothes and shoes are not designer brand. Her Mother doesn’t receive child support on a regular basis from her ex husband, and her income alone is not enough to support a healthy diet so she and Ellen eat a lot of high-carb foods like Ramen Noodles and Hamburger Helper. A poor diet can lead to obesity, and unfortunately, Ellen is overweight. Combining her weight with her poverty, Ellen is a perfect target for a bully. After years of being insulted, she built a wall around herself that Hershey helped her break down.

Laura: Do you think that the fact Ellen comes from a low-income, single parent family enough reason for her to have low self esteem? Do you think that a teen with one loving parent can be happy and secure?

Julie: Coming from a low income, single parent home is not the only contributing factor to Ellen’s low self esteem. Teens growing up in single parent homes have every opportunity to be happy and secure as teens in two parent homes do. Their changing hormones, new relationships and new experiences can bring about feelings of insecurity. A parent or parents can only help their child cope with these insecurities if the child communicates with them about the issues. Statistics show that 64% of the victims of bullying never tell their parents that they are being bullied. Ellen happens to be one of those 64 percent.

Laura: What do you think would have happened to Ellen if she hadn’t had Jane in her life? How does Ellen’s cat Hershey help her?

Julie: Jane is the director of a volunteer group of therapy animal teams. It is with Jane’s help that Ellen is able to take the Pet Partners online course and train her cat, Hershey, for work in animal assisted therapy. Jane not only gives Ellen a laptop, she also offers her a summer job to help pay Hershey’s registration fees. Once Hershey’s registration is finalized, Ellen and Hershey become a part of Jane’s team of volunteers.

Ellen could have used the library or found another way to get online to take the Pet Partners course, but since Jane gives Ellen her old laptop, the process is much easier for her. However; without Jane in her life, Ellen may never discover the joy of animal assisted therapy.

Ellen’s work with Hershey creates a relationship with a woman she otherwise would not have gotten to know, and that person will teach Ellen valuable lessons about life.

I like to say that it is BECAUSE of Hershey that Ellen finally goes to homecoming. Ellen’s work with Hershey gives her confidence, and more importantly, a purpose in life.

Laura: What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied?

Julie:TELL SOMEONE! Don’t just take it and let all the insults and abuse pile up on you until you can’t climb out from underneath it. Your parents will not be ashamed of you. Your school guidance counselor is another person with whom you can talk. He or she can direct you to the proper channels to resolve the bullying. Schools are obligated to address bullying and harassment when the behavior violates federal education anti-discrimination laws.

Laura: What would you do if you encountered someone who is bullying someone else? Have you ever bullied someone?

Julie: I would point out the behavior to the offender, asking them how they would feel were the roles reversed. I taught my daughter to be compassionate and respectful of others and made my expectations of her very clear. When I found out she was being bullied, I went to the school personally and spoke to the principle, teachers, and I even called parents to bring their child’s behavior to their attention. One Mother wasn’t so kind on the phone and made me realize why her child was a bully, but one Mother actually made her son write my daughter an apology letter.

I can’t say I haven’t bullied anyone, bulling is everywhere. It’s in the schools, in the home, in the workplace. I’m ashamed to say I have laughed at jokes made at someone else’s expense. But my experiences as a victim have turned me into a “people pleaser” for the most part. I do not go out of my way to hurt anyone’s feelings and I’m always as polite and as careful as possible given the situation. I do not discriminate against race, religion, political beliefs, appearance, or sexual preference. I won’t discuss politics or religion. To me, FAT is the “F” word, and gay means happy.

Laura: Have you ever been bullied and if so, how has if affected you?

Julie: I had a “Darcel” and a “John” in my life, along with others who followed their lead. To this day I have self esteem issues, there’s no denying that. I will never be satisfied with my appearance, but I have found a way to live with that and hopefully I can help someone else combat their bullies.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Julie Otzelberger

My name is Julie Otzelberger and I am no stranger to bullying. I grew up in a small suburb in Wisconsin and was overweight for most of my life. The comments made by classmates still haunt me after over thirty years. I admit I’ve had self esteem issues all of my life because of the bullying I underwent, and in an effort to overcome it, in January 2010 I underwent gastric bypass surgery.

Anyone with pets will tell you how special the bond between a pet and owner is because of the he unconditional love pets offer. I’ve had many cats during my life, all of them special and dear to me. I currently have four cats, one of whom I am a registered animal handler of through Pet Partners. My cat Bear and I currently volunteer for Heartland Hospice and Health Heelers, and I find this to be the most rewarding experience of my life. Gastric Bypass surgery may have changed my appearance and the way some people treat me, but my work with Bear has changed how I feel about myself and has given me the self esteem I’ve been lacking.

Hershey is a combination of each cat God has blessed me with over the years. My life was similar to Ellen’s, but I did not find anything like Pet Partners until very recently. I hope I help a young girl finds her way to Pet Partners and follow her altruistic path with her best friend.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ladyhawk1967

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

About Laura Kennedy

LAURA KENNEDY lives in Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town on the West Coast of Florida. She grew up in Minneapolis where her mother was a romance writer who helped her father support the family. By the time she was twenty-two, she lived in Southern California, was married, had a baby, and was broke, the perfect Petri dish for the beginning of a writing career. Encouraged by her mother’s writing success, Laura borrowed her mother’s portable typewriter on which she concocted her first story that sold for the staggering sum of $225.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

GIVEAWAY

Have you ever been a victim of a bully?

Leave a comment below and be entered to win a free ebook copy of “The Cat That Went to Homecoming” by Julie Otzelberger.

A winner will be chosen via Random.org on or soon after April 9, 2014.

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!

Interview | Laura Kennedy | “Double Take” + Giveaway

Alice J. Black will be releasing her paranormal novel “The Doors” from Fire and Ice in the fall of 2014. She took some time to read Laura Kennedy’s brand new release “Double Take” and ask Laura some questions. Read on to get the inside scoop on “Double Take” and leave a comment to win a free ebook copy of “Double Take!”

When sixteen-year-old Brooke Bentley’s green convertible and cell phone conk out during a tropical rainstorm, she believes it’s just bad luck. But when she darts through the dark to a dilapidated Victorian she thinks is the home of a friend and is invited in by a butler in a faded black tux, Brooke knows it must be karma. Because how often do you meet a reclusive 1950′s movie star who thinks she’s actress Terry Moore? And how often does someone as charming as eighty-year-old Laura de France insist on transforming you into a movie star, too? How can something as simple as a dress control your life? It can if it’s the famous green toga worn by actress Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and you’ll do anything to wear it.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Alice: What inspired you to write Double Take?

Laura: Two things.

First is the movie Beneath the 12-Mile Reef that was filmed here in the sponge diving town of Tarpon Springs, Florida in 1953. Starring Robert Wagner, Gilbert Rolland and Terry Moore, it’s a Romeo and Juliet love story I weaved into the plot.

Second is my friendship with the sister of ninety-year-old actress Sharon Randall who became my inspiration for Double Take antagonist Laura de France. I was fascinated with stories of Sharon’s years as a child star. Known as Janice Chambers, she was signed to MGM during the 1930s where she worked with other child actors such as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

Alice: Your main character, Brooke, refers to her friends as The Sisters. Which of the Sisters would you say you’re most like and why?

Laura: To begin, the Sisters label came from the fact all four girls in Double Take work at Surf’s Up, the coolest surf shop in Coral Cove. I am definitely Brooke, the novel’s protagonist. Brooke is basically positive and happy, and always tries to do the right thing. She screws up, of course. As she says in Double Take, “Why does everything have to happen to me? I’m a good person, sort of.”

Alice: Do you think you would have liked to wear that stunning green toga yourself?

Laura: Of course I’d like to wear it!

Alice: Was the toga based on a real dress?

Laura: The green toga is real. When writing Double Take, I rented the film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, then viewed it carefully. Ms. Taylor wore a dozen or so gowns in the film. I chose the toga because it was one of the more modest, making it a realistic probability that Miss de France could own it.

© IMDB

© IMDB

Alice: Who was the easiest character to write?

Laura: When is writing easy? Just kidding. I’d have to say Brooke. Actually, all of my characters were relatively easy since they’re so real to me. Charles Dickens said that sometimes when he wasn’t writing, his characters would tug on his coat sleeve, begging him to get back to work.

Alice: Who was the hardest character to write?

Laura: I wouldn’t say James was hard, but I thought about him a lot. He is a complex character in a complex world.

Alice: Do you know anyone like Laura De France in real life?

Laura: Even though I modeled Miss de France after Sharon Randall, it was only because of her background as an actress. Sharon is far too sweet to be controlling. As for controlling people, we all know a few.

Alice: Do you think all/many girls of her age would do something like Brooke does just to get to wear that dress?

Laura: We all do things to get what we want. And it isn’t just teenage girls. Brooke was guilty of making poor choices. Her parents knew about her relationship with Miss de France, they just didn’t know about the Patent Leather Room.

Alice: Do you know any teenager who would give up so much time to be with someone like Miss de France?

Laura: At present, I don’t know many teenage girls. Guess I’ll have to hang around the Tastee Freeze more.

As for spending so much time with Miss de France, I think there are girls who would. Remember, Brooke initially went to Miss de France’s every day after school out of a sense of guilt because she felt responsible for Miss de France’s heart attack. Miss de France then created enticements so she’d continue to come. For Brooke, it’s all a matter of vanity, beginning with the Cleopatra dress. What girl isn’t vain? “But I wanted the dress!”

Alice: I felt sorry for Laura and James not really being able to strike up a relationship, how did it make you feel to write about the differences in the way people view different races?

Laura: The relationship between Miss de France and James was both beautiful and sad. Obviously, they loved each other very much, but as James told Brooke, “We live in an unforgiving world of black and white.” James met Miss de France in the 1960s, an era when interracial relationships weren’t just frowned upon, they were often illegal as demonstrated in miscegenation laws in many states that prohibited marriage.

Alice: Nick seems like a genuinely nice guy despite what he did with her mother. Do you think Brooke is really in love with him?

Laura: Nick. Nick is genuinely a nice guy. He’s made his mistakes and regrets them. He’s twenty-four now and is maturing.

Is Brooke really in love with him? As much as a sixteen-year-old going on seventeen can be. However, Brooke is also a realist. She knows that for the present, there’s no chance of a romance between them.So being ever hopeful, she’ll move on.

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About Laura Kennedy

LAURA KENNEDY lives in Tarpon Springs, a Greek sponge fishing town on the West Coast of Florida. She grew up in Minneapolis where her mother was a romance writer who helped her father support the family. By the time she was twenty-two, she lived in Southern California, was married, had a baby, and was broke, the perfect Petri dish for the beginning of a writing career. Encouraged by her mother’s writing success, Laura borrowed her mother’s portable typewriter on which she concocted her first story that sold for the staggering sum of $225.

Fire and Ice Page: http://www.fireandiceya.com/authors/laurakennedy/index.html
Blog: http://laurakennedy17.wordpress.com

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About Alice J. Black

Alice J. Black was born in the Northh East England and even as a child had more fascination with books than the outside world. She writes in the supernatural young adult genre and likes to experiment with other genres. She’s an avid writer on her second home, writing.com. Her debut novel, The Doors, is due for publication in September 2014 from Fire and Ice YA Books. She has had other short works published previously in the Writing.com Anthology 2013.

Giveaway

Leave a comment below and you’ll automatically be entered to win a free ebook copy of “Double Take” by Laura Kennedy!

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win the $10 Amazon gift card as well over on THIS post!

New Books || March 26, 2014

So many great new books for you today! (AND the chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!)

I’m personally excited for all of them, but especially “A Strange There After,” which is the sequel to “Happily Never After” and the second book in Missy Fleming’s Savannah Shadows series. It’s a modern day Cinderella…. with ghosts!

Fans of contemporary fiction will be interested in “Love You to Death” by Melissa March about a young woman running from her stalker – just reading the prologue has me excited to start reading this one.

For the contemporary romance fans, check out “Finding Hope in Texas” by Ryan T. Petty. Can Hope find love and acceptance after the loss of her entire family? I know I’m dying to find out.

Another contemporary fiction release is “Double Take” by Laura Kennedy. When Brooke’s car breaks down and she seeks refuge from the rain, she meets a reclusive woman who believes she’s a movie star from the 1950’s.

Finally, for the historical fans, we have “White Pine: My Year as a Lumberjack and River Rat” by Caroline Akervik. When his father is injured it’s up to Sevy to take his place with the Lumberjacks in the white pine forests of Wisconsin. Will he have what it takes?

Keep reading for more info on each book.

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A Strange There After

(Savannah Shadows #2)

by Missy Fleming

Ghosts exist. Quinn Roberts knows this because she is one – kind of. The spirit of a dysfunctional ancestor, Catherine, has evicted Quinn from her own body, forcing her to live in a world with the paranormal. No one can see, touch or hear her, except the ghosts she grew up with and the bane of her existence, a self-centered paranormal investigator named Boone.

Forced to watch the growing bond between her boyfriend, Jason, and the body snatcher, Catherine, Quinn delves deeper into the history of her family in search of a way to reverse what’s been done. What she finds is a dangerous entity more terrifying than anything she’s encountered before. He’s willing to grant all her desires…for a price.

As Quinn faces painful decisions and makes unlikely alliances, she learns how far she will go to get her life back. Desperation is a wicked thing and she soon realizes that recovering her body may only be the beginning of her end.

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Love You to Death

by Melissa March

Seventeen year-old Arden Elliot is alone, barely surviving life on the streets. All she wants is a place to call home, somewhere she can be safe.

After meeting Det. Cass Bateman, surviving is exactly what she will need to do. He dominates her world, steals her spirit and breaks her body. All in the name of love. She knows if she stays, one day he will love her to death.

On the run she meets Gideon, a Kentucky cowboy. She tries to resist the power of her heart, knowing she doesn’t have the luxury of falling in love, but just when she thinks her life is finally secure, her past comes calling. Now she will have to decide whether to confess everything to her new family or leave them safely behind to run again.

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Finding Hope in Texas

by Ryan T. Petty

How do you move on in your life after a horrible tragedy?

That’s what Hope Kilpatrick must ask after losing her family in a horrible car accident right before Christmas. Unable to deal with the pain, she leaves the haunting memories of her New York home behind and escapes to Texas with an estranged aunt that is her only family.

Still reeling from her loss and the culture shock of her new home, she must also deal with a school bully that has set her sights upon her. Hope’s only solace is the quiet girl at the vacant lunch table, an eccentric history teacher, and the introverted handsome young man she meets at a Texas parade. Finding Hope in Texas deals with the tragedy of loss, the sardonic struggles of teenage life, and the sanguinity in finding a special someone that will help her discover the strength to live again.

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Double Take

by Laura Kennedy

When sixteen-year-old Brooke Bentley’s green convertible and cell phone conk out during a tropical rainstorm, she believes it’s just bad luck. But when she darts through the dark to a dilapidated Victorian she thinks is the home of a friend and is invited in by a butler in a faded black tux, Brooke knows it must be karma. Because how often do you meet a reclusive 1950’s movie star who thinks she’s actress Terry Moore? And how often does someone as charming as eighty-year-old Laura de France insist on transforming you into a movie star, too? How can something as simple as a dress control your life? It can if it’s the famous green toga worn by actress Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and you’ll do anything to wear it.

“Reading ‘Double Take’ reminded me of my teen years at MGM studios where I had the good fortune to go to the Little Red School House with such young talent as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.”

– Sharon Randall, formerly Janice Chambers, ninety-year-old singer/actress.
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White Pine

My Year as a Lumberjack and a River Rat

by Caroline Akervik

After Sevy Anderson’s father breaks his leg in a sawmill accident, the fourteen-year-old must take his place with the rough and tumble lumberjacks and river rats who harvest the white pine forests of Wisconsin. The men of the Northwoods live hard and on the edge, and Sevy must prove his courage and his worth in the company of legends.

Will he become the man he so longs to be?
Will the other men ever accept him?
And will he even survive his first winter in the Northwoods?

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